NDL: Waratah opens account against long-standing rivals Hamilton in blockbuster season opener | photos

AIR TIME: Nathaniel King makes a last-second dodge in the Waratah Cobra's 7-6 victory against the Hamilton Stags in the Season 11 opening match. Picture: Josh Giles
AIR TIME: Nathaniel King makes a last-second dodge in the Waratah Cobra's 7-6 victory against the Hamilton Stags in the Season 11 opening match. Picture: Josh Giles

DESPITE a late-game comeback from the defending champions, Waratah opened their Season 11 account in the Newcastle Dodgeball League with a 7-6 victory over old rivals Hamilton.

The one-set win was another classic in the annals of the two founding clubs’ long history, and one that nearly ended in a draw, as Hamilton surged back from a shaky opening half to fall just one set short of a comeback.

Last season’s premiers saw the half-whistle stop proceedings in favour of the Cobras, 6-2, and another quick defeat to open the second half saw their deficit balloon to five.

From there, Hamilton found their footing in the match, scoring four set points to close out the match, but it wasn’t enough to collect the four points as their defence began with an agonising loss.

It’s a strong start for the ‘Tahs after their disappointing exit in the semi-finals last season, and with new faces added to the roster in the transfer window many will be tipping the Cobras to make tracks towards a grand final berth in the club’s eleventh campaign.

Elsewhere at Oakdale Arena, Shortland came out firing in their debut match in the competition, with the Scotchies shocking Cooks Hill 10-3 to move into first place after the first week.

It was a beleaguered Cookers that appeared in the opening round of Season 11, and Shortland took full advantage of the slow start to stretch their lead to 6-2 at the break, and a slower second half saw them keep their lead to the final whistle.

STRONG START: James Billingham and the Shortland Scotch Fingers recorded the upset of the round as they knocked off the Cooks Hill Crooks 10-3 in their debut match. Picture: Isaac McIntyre

STRONG START: James Billingham and the Shortland Scotch Fingers recorded the upset of the round as they knocked off the Cooks Hill Crooks 10-3 in their debut match. Picture: Isaac McIntyre

Later, Belmont took their first step on a path back to the grand final after their defeat at the hands of Hamilton in Season 10’s penultimate clash, downing Bar Beach 10-4 to move into second.

Finally, Raymond Terrace welcomed the second entrant organisation to the league with a fast-paced 10-6 win, with Kotara making a statement of intent despite their defeat – to push last season’s semi-finalists to a lofty sixteen games means many will watch their opening weeks with rising interest. 

TABLE: Shortland, Belmont, Raymond Terrace, Waratah (4), Hamilton, Kotara, Bar Beach, Cooks Hill (1).

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